What are we here for?
We meet here to talk about Godly Play, to share what it’s all about and to discuss how to do it better.
The weekly blog posts are designed to help Sunday school teachers prepare for their Godly Play lessons, and the individual pages (see the tabs at the top of this page) share information about how we do Godly Play at First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC.
We’d love to hear from teachers everywhere, not just the ones at our church! We hope you’ll join our circle and share your ideas!
What Godly Play is Not
Godly Play is quite different from the traditional model in which the teacher tells the children what they need to know. Godly Play is not about things that are that simple. It is not just about learning lessons or keeping children entertained. It is about locating each lesson in the whole system of Christian language and involving the creative process to discover the depths of meaning in them.
What is Godly Play?
According to the Godly Play Foundation, Godly Play is a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture.
Godly Play is about understanding how each of the stories of God’s people connects with the child’s own experience and relationship with God.
Godly Play respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.
Read more about Godly Play here.
How do we do Godly Play at First Baptist Greenville?
Christians of many different denominations use Godly Play and probably do it differently, even within the same denomination. In this blog, I describe Godly Play by sharing the way our church does it. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best way or the prescribed way, or the only way, of course, but it’s the way that suits us best.
There are several different aspects of the story that you may choose to emphasize:
1. The meeting itself of Jesus with the disciples on the mountain.
2. Jesus’ command to go to people everywhere and make them disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey his commands.
3. Jesus’ assurance that He will always be with us.
You may want to try letting the children gather items from the materials that help to tell the story this week.
Here are some wondering questions to also use:
1. I wonder what was your favorite part of today’s story is.
2. I wonder how the disciples felt about Jesus telling them to go everywhere and tell Jesus’ story.
3. I wonder how you would feel if Jesus asked you to go to a new place and tell Jesus’ story.
4. I wonder where we are in Jesus’ story. I wonder how we become part of it.
5. Jesus said he would be with disciples forever. I wonder how he was with them. I wonder how we find him with us.
6. I wonder how you and I can share Jesus’ story with others.
Ideas for Our Gift to God Time
The more they make their own ideas into their projects, the more ownership they have, and the more excited they will be about their work.
You may choose to focus on the Great Commission, Jesus’ command to go everywhere, make disciples, baptize them and teach them the way.
1. Children could make the craft seen here, a world made out of clay, studded with flags from other countries. You could have a print out of flags from different countries that the kids could work from, copying the flags, putting them on toothpicks and dotting the clay world.
3. You could talk about how we are missionaries every day, right where we live. Children could draw a list of ways they share Jesus’ story in their own lives. (Operation Inasmuch, mission projects that they’ve taken part in, bringing food to church to donate to Mission Backpack, etc.)
4. Children could color a map that shows Paul’s missionary journeys, and then color a world map, highlighting places they’ve learned about in Children on Mission. I’ll have some world maps available to you.
5. Children could make a self portrait, titled “I’m a Disciple.” They could do this with pencil and then color with watercolors or paint. Or they could use butcher paper and have someone trace their whole bodies and color it in with markers or paint.
6. They could focus on Jesus’ promise to be with us until the end of the age. Children could draw a picture of themselves with Jesus –or show ways that Jesus is with us (as we read the Bible or pray or serve others.)
For more art response ideas, see my Pinterest page on this story, here.